Loading the pallete and getting ready to hit the road to a working show. I love events like this. I am on my way to a historical trade fair this weekend in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where I will put my art up on display, showing friends and patrons many new works that have been done in the past year. I will have a canvas on the easel that I can be working on and talking with people about. This is business but so enjoyable that it’s a win-win for me. Perhaps I’ll see you there?
This morning has been so relaxing. It has been enjoyable sitting at my easel painting and thinking about friends on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It’s delightful to me that while painting I can transport myself in my mind to particular moments in time. For those of you, my friends, who were in the encampment at the Grand Portage National Monument in August of 2019, you will recall the evening when the storm blew up quickly resulting in a lovely double rainbow. It’s been rare for me to be able to see both ends of a rainbow in my life, and most assuredly I had never seen the rainbow reflect off water like that, almost creating a circle. Circles are everywhere in our lives from repetitian within our visual spheres to our relationships with people, and are most certainly demonstrated in our paths of life.
Thank you for circling back to see how this painting turned out today, and thank you for walking the circles of my life with me.
Feel free to send me a comment about the work, or that day, or our walk together.
Laying out a new painting is truly an exercise of craft – the pleasure of color and canvas and paint. When I work I look at the photographs I took and revisit the time, revisit the place, and think about all of the emotions involved in that moment. I can hear the sounds and smell the smells or feel the excitement of the people around me. These things and more help me add the right extra elements to a painting to make it work.
For those who were present at this time and place last summer you might recognize what I have begun to lay out. I’ll post the finished work so comment then and let me know if I captured the moment as you remember it.
Today I am so pleased to hear that the book I illustrated for author Michelle Minor Smith has come off the press. She is a horsewoman with a passion for God’s creatures and her story is about a racehorse who was no longer earning his keep – considered past his prime.
I am proud to have illustrated the book and to help her in her efforts to help with racehorse rescue awareness.
It will soon be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a Christian bookstore near you. Michelle will also do book signing events at bookstores and libraries, and I hope perhaps I can join her on occasion.
Oh my, I cannot believe how time has gotten away from me.
It seems like only last week instead of last month, that I was at Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the Echoes of the Past trade fair. That was a fun weekend -although the weather was certainly against us. We had snow and sleet and awful wind that made it hard to get to the building each day, but it was fun nonetheless, once we were inside. I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new friends. I am happy to have been able to go and share my paintings.
The first painting that I’m showing here is actually the painting that I worked on while on site – something I try and do whenever I am invited to bring my artwork to an event. People seem to enjoy watching my process and hearing what I am thinking about while I paint. And I must admit, I really enjoy interacting with the public, too.
One new friend I met at Oshkosh was a young lady (hello “A”) who had some wonderful pointers about how various parts of the landscape should be done. She was quite familiar with Bob Ross and his painting style and so we talked about how I should paint the trees especially. I added the birch and pine trees on the right side in honor of our conversations. Thanks, “A”.
The Second painting you see here is one that I started in the fall and kind of dithered with but hadn’t finished. I’ve been doing a lot of wishing for a cabin for my husband and I to retire to someday that I wanted to paint what we thought that cabin might look like.
Originally, the painting depicted a fall scene with fall leaves all over the trees and ground. It was almost garish with the color and I found I didn’t like it at all. In January I picked it up again and painted out all the colored leaves, added snow, and put it aside again because I was so irritated with it. One final time I went back to the painting and decided to complete it. I wouldn’t call it a great painting but it was important to finish it and think about all that I learned in the process. Equally important was the need to share challenges, struggles, and degrees of success or failure.
You see, pride makes an easy trap for me to avoid posting pictures of paintings that I’m not so fond of. Art is so very subjective and that remains true even for the artist for their own work. When I talked to some of the people at the trade fair in February I realized that only showing my best is doing a disservice – it is deceptive. It gives the impression, especially to a young, emerging artist who may be watching me, that I don’t ever do medium work or even fail. It’s important to remember that I keep painting even if I don’t like them all, or if some are much slower to complete, or sometimes just needing to stop because it just keeps getting worse and I can’t fix it. It’s OK to fail with a painting and move on. It is not OK to quit painting.
Another point worth making is that I may not love a painting when I’m done with it because of any number of personal reasons, but it may be exciting for someone else. I think any one who is creative knows that we can be our own worst critics.
The Third painting that you see here is a larger painting and the most recent, and depicts Spring in the deep woods. It’s depicting that time when Spring rain showers come and go pretty quickly and leave everything slightly damp. I can smell the old leaf clutter from the fall, that musty sweet smell of the Earth bursting with small flowers and the acrid wet scent of rock. All of the trees have the light green shades of 1st leaves …and yet the sun is drowsily warm.
Winter is passing and I have another painting on the easel. I look forward to what it can teach me, where it can take me in my imagination, and what new challenges it can gift me. Enjoy the coming spring and its adventures.
Gosh, time has flown by so fast! I am hurriedly wrapping up the end of an academic semester, and I still have boxes of art all over my home place from last weekend’s show. They need to be stowed so that I can decorate for the holidays. Slightly panicked, I’m trying to imagine how fast I can get my living room rearranged, my tree up, and my decorations placed around this Saturday.
I did take a moment yesterday to think about all of the wonderful people I had met at the Outlander Convention last weekend. I learned a lot at that show. Many of those lovely patrons had advice on how to present my work at a multi faceted venue like that was, and others had good advice on the need for a broader scaled pricing model. As a working painter I have tried to have some prints available but have also learned that offering prints of too many original works can devalue the original pieces. For this recent show I had made a few smaller prints that were created specifically as small and affordable works of art (Outlander icon pen and inks), some notecards using an image of one of my larger works (Morning Fog at Craig na Dun), and a small edition of a detail from a larger original (Safe Harbour).
Last night’s conclusion was that I needed to have a new gallery with a unique body of work for gift shopping and not solely investing.
ANNOUNCING: the newest gallery in the STORE is the “Gift Shop” in your right hand menu bar. In this new gallery will be those unique, handcrafted, or small works and prints, usually under $100. It will be those items we’re looking for as a quick gift for someone else or a treat for yourself. I’m going to be adding some of the other fun things I like to create – craft or utility items such as note cards, jewelry, buttons, or whatever is not a large scale original painting. I have also made a link to the gichlee prints I carried previously and put them in there for your convenience.
As always, your feedback is welcomed and appreciated. If I don’t get back to you before, have a very happy holiday season.
There are only a few weeks before I will be enjoying a new adventure, showing my artwork at a convention, Thru the Stones, in Davenport, Iowa. You have seen me painting Outlander inspired scenes (book series by Diana Gabaldon) for some of my studio work this year and this showing is the reason. It is coming up November 30th and I soon will be in the final rush to have everything “just so!”
I will have displayed a great variety of original works done in oil on canvas, and will make available some of my gichlee historical prints, as well. At this event will be a new, limited gichlee edition of a detail of “Safe Harbour”, matted in white (see the photo on the far right).
I have also created a new series of small pen and ink iconic figures related to the book series (seen in the photo on the near right). Each image is gichlee printed in black and white and finished in a black matte, backed by a certificate of authenticity, and can be purchased individually or as a bundled group of all 5.
The third photo shows a sample of the printed note cards with an image of one of my paintings, Morning Fog at Craig Na Dun, on the cover. Blank inside, they give you the opportunity to join those of us historical romantics who still write personal notes and mail them to friends and family.
All of these new works will be fun new additions to what I have traditionally offered and I plan to continue to have them available … even after the show on the 30th.
I am having so much fun.
Finally, let me talk about why I have not yet painted Jamie and Claire, or any of the other actors in the TV series. Believe me when I say I would love to do that! But here is the problem.
First of all I would need to get permission from many, many people. Not necessarily in the order of priority here is the rough idea: Ask Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Gary Lewis (Colum MacKenzie), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie) and scores of other actors for written permission in a release document that defines my freedoms and restrictions. I probably need to get permission from each of their agents as well since I would be basically stepping into the promotional image area. I would also need to ask the director, Ronald D. Moore because he has now illustrated the story in film. I might need the go-ahead from Sony, but I’m not sure. Then I need a permission from Terry Dresbach who did the customized costuming because you would want to see the character you already know complete in recognizable attire, right? And of course I need to ask the author, Diana Gabaldon. I think there are probably more but you get my point.
So, when you see a face I paint you can rest assured that I have taken my own photograph, or have permission to use them from the photographer who did, have gotten a signed release to paint them, or I have pulled the person from my imagination. Landscapes I shoot myself or paint on site so again, all my own so no permission needed.
If you know the folks that need to give me permission, tell them I would love to do the paintings. I think I could do them justice.
To continue the conversation about the need to reinterpret imagery to respect intellectual property, I have intersected the vision drawn from my reading of the books with the imagery from the TV series in a way that connects with my audience but does not infringe on either a photographer or film maker to do so.
Applying the same principle to this painting, Craigh na Dun, I was challenged by an even greater dilemma. Although there are many stone sites dating back to the Druids in Scotland and Ireland, the exact stone circle we see in the film does not actually exist. There is a standing stone circle near to Culloden Battlefield called Clava Cairns, and the stone circle used in the TV series is said to be loosely based on it. You can, however, find dozens of photographs of Craigh na Dun as it is portrayed in the film – some quite dramatic and colorful and in various times of day or night. There again, I have seen some of the images and the TV series, but all of the images are photographs that in all probability were taken by film staff.
To comply with copyright here as well I needed to paint my interpretations of the writing in combination with the implied fictitious stone circle from the film. You won’t find this image with the mid-morning sun burning off the rolling fog in any photograph.